SEATTLE -- Spring Training is still five weeks away, but Mariners outfielder Boog Powell and some of Seattle's other young prospects have already begun their introductions into the club's new way of going about its business.Powell, a 22-year-old acquired from the Rays in general manager Jerry Dipoto's first trade in
SEATTLE -- Spring Training is still five weeks away, but Mariners outfielder Boog Powell and some of Seattle's other young prospects have already begun their introductions into the club's new way of going about its business.
Powell, a 22-year-old acquired from the Rays in general manager Jerry Dipoto's first trade in November, was one of a group of youngsters who took part in a two-day hitting clinic at the team's facility in Peoria, Ariz., last week.
Powell then headed to Leesburg, Va., as one of four Mariners -- along with right-handers Edwin Diaz and Jonathan Aro and catcher Steven Baron -- to take part in the MLB/MLBPA's Rookie Career Development Program, a clinic for top prospects from all 30 Major League teams.
Powell told MLB.com that the whirlwind week was excellent preparation as he readies for his second Major League camp. He was in big league camp last year with the Rays, then split the season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.
"They were just teaching the philosophy of how the Mariners are going to go about the season now," Powell said of the Peoria hitting clinic. "I had two days with Edgar Martinez and met a few of the other guys. I was in Mike Zunino's hitting group, so we talked a lot, and it was great."
The clinic was part of the new Mariners regime's approach as Dipoto and director of player development Andy McKay look to install an organization-wide structure throughout the Minor League system to get players and coaches on the same page at all levels.
Powell, the Mariners' sixth-ranked prospect per MLBPipeline.com, is among those youngsters who appear closest to making the jump to the big leagues. He has the speed and athleticism Dipoto is looking for in the outfield, along with a high on-base percentage throughout his Minor League career.
The Rays acquired Powell in a trade with the A's last January that sent Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to Oakland, and he hit a combined .295/.385/.392 with 18 stolen bases in 117 Minor League games with Montgomery and Durham.
The Mariners then landed Powell as part of a six-player swap that sent Brad Miller, Logan Morrison and Danny Farquhar to Tampa Bay for Powell, right-handed starter Nathan Karns and left-handed reliever C.J. Riefenhauser.
"Getting traded a second time made it a lot easier, because I'd already done it before," Powell said. "I know my parents and family and friends are very happy I'm back on the West Coast. I'm very excited."
The California native said he benefitted greatly from his time with Durham last year.
"That was probably the best experience of my life," he said. "Hitting with them and being with all those older guys that had been in the big leagues, like J.P. Arencibia, he kind of took me under his wing and taught me the mental side of baseball and how to be a big leaguer. It was by far my favorite season. I didn't do as well as the season before, but I learned more than I ever had before."
And now Powell is prepared to head to camp next month with the Mariners and attempt to take the next step. Seattle also acquired free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki, re-signed Franklin Gutierrez and traded for Leonys Martin this offseason, adding to returning players Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, Shawn O'Malley and Stefen Romero, so the competition will be keen.
But Powell has his sights set on making the Mariners' squad at some point and adding what he can to his new organization, so he knows this camp will be his first chance to show what he can add.
"That's all I want to do," he said. "I want to be the leadoff man for the Mariners. I want to get on base for the [Nos.] 2-3-4 hitters, [Robinson] Cano and all them. I want to help them win a championship. If it's not right away, if it's at some point in the season, if it's next season, it doesn't matter. I'm just going to go out there and give it my best and see what I can do."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.